No-till Producer, Shenendoah, IA

Chris Teachout is a 5th generation producer on a farm that dates back in his family to 1876. He first gained an appreciation and understanding of soil conservation from his Grandfather, Laverne Cutter.

Since then he is in continuous learning mode and looks to apply what he learns to his 1,850 Fremont County acres. Chris works on the farm with his wife, Kay. He's the son of the late Don Teachout and Barbara Teachout of Shenandoah. The couple raised three children; Skyler, Katelyn and Chelsey and enjoy spending time with their 15-month-old granddaughter.

When it comes to soil heath, Chris is a major proponent of cover crops. Whether it's cereal rye, oats, barley, flax and more, he says cover crops can have a powerful impact on the living creatures that lurk beneath the ground. Over the years, in rebuilding the soil through cover crops, earthworms return as does the activation and enrichment of bacteria and protozoa through the stretching roots of the living plants growing within the bean stubble or decaying corn stalks.

Erosion and nutrient runoff is curtailed because of the existing vegetation, along with increasing water infiltration as the soil is held in place through the strength of the plant's root structure. As a part of the entire system, Teachout also implements modern terraces and practices no-till planting, something he's kicking in this week as he'll be planting corn with his 16-row no-till planter.